Studio Nyctale is Canada’s Sustainable Chic Answer to Ikea

By Jordana Colomby

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We believe in supporting Canadian products, not for the sake of it, but because our nation boasts some of the finest brands and designers in the world. Studio Nyctale creates gorgeous, multifunctional furniture that’s all about sustainability, simplicity, and open-sourced design.

Just when you thought DIY couldn’t get simpler, along comes Studio Nyctale. Caitlin Ryan and her partner Marc started the studio in 2017 as a way to support themselves after relocating from Montreal to a northern region of Québec called La Coté-de-Beaupré. When Ryan moved from Australia eight years ago, she fell in love with Canadian wood and felt inspired to create. So, when it came time for the former set and costume designer to start a business, choosing wood as her medium was a no-brainer.

Ryan wasn’t a furniture maker. She didn’t have the technical skills to build complex designs, so she decided to create something that anyone could make with a few simple instructions, sustainable materials, and optional products easily found at your local hardware store. But there’s no hardware. As a designer, Ryan knew how to make hats and bags, but she didn’t know much about working with wood and brass. She opted for the skills she did have, like sewing, instead of relying on complicated tools.

“If I don’t know how to make furniture and I can make my furniture, then anybody anywhere can,” Ryan says. “If you can do up a belt, you can put my furniture together.” No screws, no Allen key, no chance of getting confused.

Everything is made from 100 percent Canadian maple plywood, cotton straps, and stainless steel fixtures. Each item is not only versatile in its use, but it can be completely customized to fit your workspace or home. Once you set them up you can leave it raw or you could add a personal touch by finishing the piece yourself with paint or varnish.

If you live anywhere in Canada, you can order a kit online, get it shipped to you for free, and set it up using the instructions and videos on Nyctale’s site.

Bonus: the desk and stool come with a reusable canvas storage bag for easy transportation between work and home.

Accessible and sustainable

If you live outside of Canada or just don’t want to deal with shipping, Studio Nyctale’s furniture can also be downloaded. Part of simplicity for Ryan was incorporating technology to make the designs easily accessible. Anybody who has access to a simple CNC machine can license the designs and make the furniture anywhere in the world.

There are three kits available online—Pli is a room divider, Papillon is a lap desk, and their best-seller, Bibette, is a meditation stool—but Ryan says she’s always working on more. The ideas for the kits came somewhat naturally to Ryan. She created items she needed at the time, like a lap desk for when she was at home with her baby and working from bed. The meditation stool spiraled out of that idea. When Ryan saw the shapes she had leftover after carving the desk legs, she knew she could use that waste to build something brand new.

Sustainability is a key factor is all of Ryan’s designs. Using natural products means the furniture can decompose, or better yet, be repaired. “A maple tree takes 40 years to grow, so that means if I made something from that wood, if it lasts 40 years, it’s closed its life cycle,” Ryan explains. She thinks about the industry she’s leaving behind for generations to come and she encourages other manufacturers to do the same. “This is the future, this is the only way that we’re going.”

You can check out Studio Nyctale at the Futurpreneur booth at Toronto’s One of a Kind show this spring.

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